Today is my stop on the blog tour for ‘Shadow of a Dead God’ by Patrick Samphire organised by Storytellers on Tour. This book had already been on my radar and my TBR because of SPFBO 6 which is currently running, so I leapt at the chance to participate in this tour. This was a fantastic read, and I hope that you will check out the book and the author, and enjoy the rest of the tour with the schedule in the banner above or (HERE).
Also please check out the bottom of the post for a giveaway, and a chance to get your hands on a copy of this brilliant book.
*Disclaimer: ‘I was given a copy this book in exchange for an honest review.’*
A dead god. A brutal murder. One second-rate mage.
It was only supposed to be one little job – a simple curse-breaking for Mennik Thorn to pay back a favour to his oldest friend. But then it all blew up in his face. Now he’s been framed for a murder he didn’t commit.
So how is a second-rate mage, broke, traumatized, and with a habit of annoying the wrong people, supposed to prove his innocence when everyone believes he’s guilty?
Mennik has no choice if he is going to get out of this: he will have to throw himself into the corrupt world of the city’s high mages, a world he fled years ago. Faced by supernatural beasts, the mage-killing Ash Guard, and a ruthless, unknown adversary, it’s going to take every trick Mennik can summon just to keep him and his friend alive.
But a new, dark power is rising in Agatos, and all that stands in its way is one damaged mage…
I loved every moment of this book. In terms of sheer entertainment value, its certainly one of the best I’ve read this year and it’s been a while since I’ve had such fun with a book. I actually ended up forgetting to go to bed at a decent hour when reading this one because the pages just kept turning, and not just because it was fast-paced, relentless and exciting with it, but because I fell in love with the setting and the main character.
The world-building was one of my favourite parts of the book, and it’s wound throughout the entire story without being overwhelming or taking away from the story of characters. Instead, it gave a vivid landscape to both, and I could happily have spent many more pages wandering through the streets, and areas of the city and learning about the history, politics, commerce and of course criminal elements. I liked how none of the elements – even magic – ever worked alone, it was always in tangent with another part of the city, and as much as we learned through the course of the book, there was still that sense of there being more to learn and uncover. The sense of ‘place’ was very strong throughout, with the idea that the ‘Warren’ was something that people never escaped in one way or another, and I look forward to seeing and learning more about the city in the next book.
Another aspect I want to learn more about is the magic. It was great to follow a mage that even admits himself that he is ‘second-rate’ and to see him having to work around that limitation, and I liked how he used precision to close some of the power gap. The ability to see magic was also fascinating, especially the idea that people experienced it differently. However, my one very minor complaint would be that there is so much that we don’t know about magic, especially with regards to what the Acolytes and High Mages are truly capable of. We get glimpses – and can see the difference between them and Nik, but no real limits. However, this is truly a minor complaint, because what we do get to see was brilliantly written especially in the action scenes, and particularly towards the end of the mystery, I was well and truly hooked.
The books other major strength was the characters, and not just the main pov character. However, I will admit that Nik was my favourite character and one of the main reasons this book was so enjoyable, because you can’t help but like him, and sympathise with him. At many points, he just seems like chaos personified, he’s not a great mage, his investigation skills (admittedly brought on by necessity) seem to send him from problem to problem even when he’s just trying to help. In fact, I can’t help but feel that maybe he should be arrested more for his own safety than anything, although then we would miss out of the madness that follows in his wake. I liked that he had set boundaries that he refused to cross, that in a world where everything is so tangled, and position is everything, he stays true to himself, and those he claims as friends/family.
His friendship with Benny was wonderful, especially as you could tell that they had been together for a long time, there was that familiarity paired with the exasperation and irritation that can only come from true, long-held friendship. And it wasn’t perfect, there were arguments and mistake, but at the core of it was trust. As for Benny’s daughter Sereh – I couldn’t get enough of her, or her interactions with Nik and I really hope we get to see more of her in the next book. The rest of the secondary characters were just as interesting, and I look forward to seeing more of them, and new characters in ‘Nectar for the God’ coming next year.
This is a fantastic book that felt very much like a breath of fresh air, and I look forward to seeing how it does in SPFBO 6. In the meantime, I would highly recommend Shadow of a Dead God for anyone wanting a little mystery with their epic fantasy, and a lot of fun (and sarcasm…) along the way.
About the Author:
Patrick Samphire started writing when he was fourteen years old and thought it would be a good way of getting out of English lessons. It didn’t work, but he kept on writing anyway.
He has lived in Zambia, Guyana, Austria and England. He has been charged at by a buffalo and, once, when he sat on a camel, he cried. He was only a kid. Don’t make this weird.
Patrick has worked as a teacher, an editor and publisher of physics journals, a marketing minion, and a pen pusher (real job!). Now, when he’s not writing, he designs websites and book covers. He has a PhD in theoretical physics, which means that all the unlikely science in his books is actually true. Well, most of it. Well, some of it. Maybe.
Patrick now lives in Wales, U.K. with his wife, the awesome writer Stephanie Burgis, their two sons, and their cat, Pebbles. Right now, in Wales, it is almost certainly raining.
He has published almost twenty short stories and novellas in magazines and anthologies, including Realms of Fantasy, Interzone, Strange Horizons, and The Year’s Best Fantasy, as well as one fantasy novel for adults, SHADOW OF A DEAD GOD, and two novels for children, SECRETS OF THE DRAGON TOMB and THE EMPEROR OF MARS.
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Shadow of a Dead God (Mennik Thorn #1) – Patrick Samphire (Published May 27th 2020 by Five Fathoms Press) – ***** (5/5 Stars)
As mentioned at the start, there is a giveaway running, so if you want to try and win a copy of this wonderful book for yourself you can enter HERE
If you’ve read it, or read it in the future, please feel free to shout at me about this fantastic book.
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